As a teenager, I loved the song, “Hooked on a Feeling”. So when the trailer for the original Guardians of the Galaxy came out, the nostalgia factor and the humour shown in the clips made me really excited to go see it. But I didn’t like the movie. I found it pretty pointless. (OK, it’s a Marvel film and isn’t supposed to be deep, but still…) Listening to people enthuse over it, I wondered why I didn’t love it like everyone else seemed to.
In spite of not liking the first movie, I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on Friday, since my older son wanted us all to go as part of his birthday celebration. And I was pleasantly surprised! I mean, it was still the same kind of movie, with a bunch of mismatched beings saving the galaxy, but I enjoyed it so much more. It was funny and action-packed, and the music once again was wonderfully nostalgic. And this one even had Kurt Russell in a key role — and David Hasselhoff in a small appearance, too!
But I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly made me like the second movie so much better than I liked the first one. The first movie was about a disparate bunch of people acting together as a team to save the galaxy. Exploring individual characters and one-on-one relationships was not as important as the group as a whole. And, apparently, that for me was the problem.
Thinking back, I also didn’t like The Avengers movie much. There was too much going on, too many different stories to follow and too many “main” characters. It’s another one I had expected to like, because I liked Thor and Ironman and their sequels. But in The Avengers, the big group together didn’t do it for me.
Come to think of it, I didn’t like the Ocean’s Eleven (and Twelve and Thirteen) movies as much as everyone else either. Again, probably to do with the group aspect vs the individual. (Although I still plan to see Ocean’s Eight!)
In my day-to-day life, I much prefer one-on-one conversations over going to a party; I would generally choose individual or partnered endeavours rather than big-group collaborative projects; and I prefer doing individual sports (swimming, etc) to team sports (although I do like to watch hockey). I also am very interested in what makes people tick and how they interact with each other.
This new Guardians movie pays attention to individual character development and explores one-on-one relationships (as well as saving the galaxy of course!). (Mild spoilers follow.) The backstory of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is further explored, as is the impact of a biological father versus a father figure who is present. Whether opposites can end up together is looked at in the up and down relationship of Quill and Gamora (Zoe Saldana). The appealing new character, Mantis (Pom Klementieff), who doesn’t understand or possess social niceties, is really interesting to watch as she tries to fit in and to cope emotionally. She and Drax (Dave Bautista) are able to develop a connection in spite of both of them being socially clueless. Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) find that they actually have a lot in common, based on what they’ve each been through. And Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) is still cute and funny and endearing, of course, in his interactions with the world and his companions.
Yes, even though this is a Marvel Universe movie with action and a lot of laughs, I’ve still managed to find enough substance in the characters and their relationships to make the movie enjoyable for me. And along the way, it’s a lot of fun!